Thursday, October 29, 2009

Warnings about Hell and Waterfalls

Someone wrote us recently and was offended by one of our articles that warns people about hell ("I can't believe you think this! You're just trying to scare people. That's not very loving..."). The claim that speaking about hell is unloving reminded me of a scene along a beautiful river in Canada. Along the river there are signs warning boaters of what is going to happen if they continue down the river. The signs are big, bright, orange and yellow signs that say: “Pullout canoes here. Danger waterfall ahead!!” Now, you could look at those signs and say, “How unloving that someone would put these signs up here. They are ruining the pristine beauty of this place. They’re just trying to spoil our fun. They’re just trying to scare people!”

Well, in reality, the park ranger who put up the signs was doing a very loving thing wasn’t he? It was out of concern for unaware boaters that the signs were put up. The most unloving thing one could do would be to take the signs down. With no warning, boaters would continue down the river only to meet a horrifying drop to their death.

Well, the same is true for the person who rejects God's warnings to repent. Should people not turn from their wicked ways and flee to Christ, who alone can save them, they are going to perish; they are going to be cast away from God's presence forever into the lake of fire (Acts 4:12, 1 Tim. 2:5, Rev. 20:15). That is why the Bible speaks so clearly about these things. That is why we speak about these things. God does not want people to perish (2 Peter 3:9). The warnings are in love (Jn. 3:16). It would be unloving not to warn them (to tear down the signs along the river, if you will). God give us the love, boldness, and wisdom to speak of eternal matters in a gracious, unashamed and yet winsome way.